Council recently announced Big Air Community Broadband as the provider for an innovative free one-year WiFi trial – and as one of only two precincts chosen to test the service, Coolum businesses couldn’t be happier.
“It is fantastic news that Coolum has been chosen to be part of this trial of free WiFi,” said Coolum Business and Tourism President, Noel Mooney.
“When it first came up for interest earlier this year, we lobbied our then Councillor Vivien Griffin and let her know were very supportive of being part of the trial.
“Thankfully, our new Division 9 Councillor Steve Robinson kept the pressure on for us to be included and we are very grateful that Coolum was chosen alongside Cotton Tree as one of the trial areas.
“We have great open spaces for people to relax and check out the World Wide Web and we are looking forward to promoting the trial in all of our tourism marketing. It will certainly give us an edge over other beachside areas,” Mr Mooney added.
Coolum and Cotton Tree are the only two business precincts included in the enhanced, free WiFi broadband trial while across the coast, people can enjoy the free Big Air Community Broadband at over 20 Council locations, including:
- Council’s Libraries and galleries
- Council Tourist Parks
- Council forecourts
In addition, Sunshine Coast Airport has begun a separate free WiFi service across its terminals, allowing all passengers and users with WiFi-enabling technology to connect and browse within seconds on a variety of mobile devices.
Whilst the council sites are expected to be WiFi enabled by the end of December, Coolum’s free WiFi service is expected to be up and running by the end of January.
Three WiFi ‘hot spots’ or access points will be installed throughout the main business precinct, providing coverage from 150 metres south of the Coolum Beach SLSC, throughout Tickle Park and reaching north to the Coolum Beach Tourist Park.
The free coverage will also extend across the road to the Coolum Retail Precinct.
“From my point of view it’s just great to have the Coolum business community, who have been doing it tough for the last few years, to be able to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Division 9 and Economic Development (digital) portfolio councillor, Steve Robinson.
“We’re talking about technology that will allow their visitors to the area to enjoy free WiFi services; and also allow the business community to leverage off that and make sure its’ customers know about the opportunity.
“Big Air currently delivers an advertising WiFi service for clients in more than 150 locations in Australia. Some of the trial locations already have either free or paid WiFi facilities; however potential faster connection speed and coverage will improve as a result.”
Businesses will also be encouraged to provide feedback during an independent evaluation process which will monitor the uptake and performance of the trial. If the trial period goes well, a 12 month extension period is possible and more coverage will come online.
“We are looking for people to get benefits out of it. We want to make sure it is accessible and sustainable for Council,” Cr Robinson said.
Along with street signage indicating locations, the WiFi ‘hot spots’ will be added to Council’s ‘My Maps’ system and advertised across the coast as soon as they are live.